Gorgeous Arpeggio Melody Trick (The SUPERTONIC)

Everyone loves playing melody lines with arpeggios... and why not - they sound great. But, have you tried the powerful substitution effects of the "Supertonic" arpeggio concept? This principle creates a fantastic sound in a melodic line by overlaying minor arpeggios over top of major arpeggios. It's an absolutely gorgeous musical sound...

In this lesson I wanted to give you a beginner workout for how to start playing guitar licks from the arpeggio based off of the, “Supertonic” chord.


First of all there will likely be some of you (out there) who do not know what the “Supertonic” chord is. For anyone who doesn’t understand the concept of this chord, it is simply the chord built from the second note of the diatonic scale of any key.

In other words, the Supertonic is the note located above the tonic of the key that you're performing a musical idea in. For example if we were in the key of “C” major, the Supertonic note would be a “D” note.

When we take this principle to the chord that would exist in harmony upon this step, we would find the chord of, “D Minor.”

Alright, so now let’s discuss using arpeggio licks built off of the, “Supertonic.” We’re going to start with a chord progression that applies this chord within a, key of “C Major” chord progression. Here’s what that sounds like…


In the chord progression shown above, the "C Major" chord is the "Tonic" chord and the "Dm" chord is the "Supertonic."

Next, we’re going to use two arpeggio shapes that are based off of our “Supertonic” (Dm) from the key signature of “C Major… Here’s what those shapes look like on the guitar neck.

Arpeggio Shape (1).

Arpeggio Shape (2).

Now, that we have our chord progression established and we have two arpeggio patterns to get started using, we can apply those arpeggios to create arpeggio licks for the supertonic chord of “Dm.”

I’ve composed an example phrase that you can practice in order to get things started with this idea. The example applies the "direct" use of the "Supertonic" principle.

This means that we'll be performing a "D Minor" arpeggio over a "D Minor" chord. Here’s what that sounds like...

Direct Supertonic Example Melody:

In the next example, we’re going to use the “Relative Major” substitution concept to demonstrate how the “Supertonic” arpeggio idea can function in-directly.

This means that we'll bypass that “D Minor” chord application, and instead use the "D Minor" arpeggio for the "Dm" chords Relative Major the, “F Major” chord.

The "in-direct" supertonic process is demonstrated below. It is an example of how that exact same guitar melody functions perfectly with the backing progression by simply replacing the “D minor” chord with the sub-dominant chord of, “F major.” Check it out... 

In-Direct Supertonic Example Melody:

Before we wrap things up, there’s one more idea that I wanted to touch upon concerning Supertonic application.

This is another easy process that you can do with the Supertonic concept and it simply involves expanding the chord types out to seventh-chord harmony.

By simply replacing the “C major” and “F major,” triad chords with their seventh qualities of, “Cmaj7,” and “F maj7” the Supertonic principle still works perfectly.

 In-Direct Supertonic Example Melody:

As you can tell from the sound of the progression shown above, the new 7th-Quality chords do not impact the overall effect of the Supertonic principle in any way whatsoever!

Be sure to head over to review all of the guitar courses that are found on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com

I’ve got step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar course available.

The courses have been designed so as to help you learn to identify where you're at, and what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that simply makes sense.

So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com



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